Adobe Acrobat XI Gets Productivity, Collaboration Boost, Easier Access to Office, SharePoint
It’s been a while since Adobe did anything with Acrobat, but today that has all changed with the unveiling of Acrobat XI, which will be available to users within the next 30 days. This is a significant release of Acrobat with new cloud services as well as tighter integration into SharePoint and Office.

Adobe has a lot to shout about in this Acrobat release, including functions that will make it easier to edit PDFs and the ability to ease the usual content restrictions contained within PDF documents.

Adobe Acrobat XI

Speaking to CMSWire late last week in the run-up to today’s announcement, Adobe’s Mark Grilli, senior director of product marketing for Acrobat, and Ali Hanyaloglu, senior Acrobat Solutions evangelist said that this release is about increasing productivity in a working world that is split between on-premises desktops and mobile devices.

This release frees workers from their desks with the addition of electronic signature abilities through EchoSign and enables the creation of forms, data collection and analysis with Adobe FormsCentral.

In all, Adobe is releasing five new upgrades/products. They include: Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard, Adobe Reader XI and newly integrated documents services Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

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Adobe Acrobat XI: Content Editing

Acrobat, Productivity

This release, Grille said, was built around the fact that huge amounts of time and productivity are being lost by what he describes as the document productivity gap.

He explains this as the problems that workers are having searching for documents, filing them, editing them, obtaining signatures, reviewing them and consolidating data.

To enable all these functions, IT has to integrate all the different platforms that contains this data, ensure that different applications can read each others content across all devices, and make sure workers can access all this information where and whenever they need it. IT also has to make sure that workers can work on different devices and different social networks while maintaining the security of all corporate data, information and other intellectual property.

You might think of this as just part of the job, Grilli says -- and that, because of increasing complexity in the workplace, workers have no choice but to manage all these functions. But an IDC report sponsored by Adobe, "Bridging the Information Worker Productivity Gap," shows just how much this is costing companies.

In just a few figures taken from the report (illustrated in the infographic below) it can be seen that, in a company with 1,000 employees, the addressable productivity cost is US$ 15.9 million annually. This translates to 213 employees every year -- which could easily be a new sales team or marketing team, or could go a long way towards increasing the research budget.

Adobe Acrobat XI Infographic.jpg

Adobe Acrobat Infographic

Melissa Webster, program Vice President at IDC (who worked on the report), noted,

…As the number of mobile devices and the use of cloud services surge, information workers must be empowered to work more effectively with documents anywhere on any device … They need a solution that enables them to collaborate with others inside and outside the firewall while at the same time meeting IT and organizational requirements for streamlined management, application security, and secure delivery of information – all with a high ROI.”

Adobe Acrobat XI Features

This is the starting point for Acrobat XI. The features have been built around actual enterprise needs and around the tools that enterprise workers are already using.

It comes with complete PDF editing and export to PowerPoint a well as touch-enabled capabilities for mobile devices, which makes it easier to use on tablets. With EchoSign users can sign off on documents and review comments within Acrobat itself, while the Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 integrations come just in time for their new versions, due out early next year.

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Adobe Acrobat: EchoSign

The new functionality translates into:

  • Edit PDF files: Users can change just about anything in the text, including images, paragraphs and other objects by simply clicking and dragging.
  • Saving PDF documents: Documents can now easily be moved into PowerPoint, Word or Excel and edited within those files. The result is that entire PDF files can be used in Office documents and Web pages without retyping.
  • Signatures: Documents can be signed off using the new EchoSign functionality while a complete history of signatures means that any changes to signatures is recorded for traceability.
  • Merge: Merge content and multiple documents into a single organized PDF file while preserving the integrity of the original file.
  • Cloud access: Comes with short cuts to cloud storage services for SharePoint and Office 365, as well as quick and simple access to Adobe online services.

There are many other functions that are easy to use and intuitive for anyone familiar with Acrobat. Document creators can use a simple password function to protect files that need to be preserved securely as PDFs, without the risk of alterations.

Acrobat XI PDF Editing

There are other PDF editors available on the market at the moment, but we’re not going to start comparing them. Acrobat XI is more than an editor, though -- it’s a productivity tool that frees content from the restraints of PDFs and makes it useable in other applications.

A preview of the functionality and demonstration given by Adobe shows an application that works quickly and smoothly with functions following in a logical step-by-step fashion to achieve objectives.

Acrobat XI and its associated products are scheduled to ship within 30 days with availability through the usual sources. The list price for Acrobat XI Standard is US$ 299 (US$ 139 upgrade) and for Acrobat XI Pro is US $ 449, or US$ 199 for an upgrade. A free 30-day trial of Acrobat Pro will also be made available as will cloud service trials for EchoSign and Adobe. Adobe EchoSign starts at US$ 14.95 per month. And the Adobe FormsCentral subscription pricing starts at US$ 14.99 per month.